Wednesday, August 05, 2015

sister friends

Back then, you made best friends with the stoner chick in art history when she gave you a ticket to the show for your birthday. Friendship was catalyzed by general education requirements and bonded by the shared love of a band. And lsd.

When you broke up with your boyfriend, she came over with a bag of groceries and rented vhs tapes for a marathon power lounging sess. She made you watch “The Joy Luck Club” and “The Color Purple” and you both cried and cried the messy hiccup-y cry that soon mushrooms into a dark lamentation of All That Is Wrong With The Dream. Shitty boyfriends, detached boomer parents, and deforestation of our beloved redwoods, and what about the rainforest? Why was there so much unkindness?

We loved Julia Butterfly Hill, we wanted our apartments to look like a Joni Mitchell Song. We had no idea how beautiful we were. We chased after boys who also failed to realize how beautiful we were.

Back then, when you fainted and she ditched you in the balcony at the Warfield for a cute hippie dude with floor tickets, you started to learn more about friendship. And hippies. Later, when you had plans to share a house with a puppy in the yard and a vegetable garden, she moved in with the guy you both bought weed from. She got pregnant.

You stopped speaking to her. You started to hang out with an eccentric group of artists or intellectuals or generic college students. You added reggae and hip hop to the mix tape collection. You traded in your Birkenstocks for combat boots. You started to wear a bra. You finished growing up without her.

Decades later, when you meet again on Facebook, she will send you a hostile email about what a lousy friend you were because you stopped talking to her. You learn that she had to move back home to her parents in Nebraska (or Long Beach, or Akron, or Scottsdale), her mom died in a car accident, she once had to work at a strip club in Minnesota in the late 90s, she is an alcoholic.

You miss her.

Both of you are right to be angry.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

yes we have no aloha

if good fences make good neighbors...

Have you ever met someone with an aloha deficit who wants to move to Hawaii? Might I introduce you to my neighbor No-loha?

No-loha has never said hello over the fence, even though we can see each other over the fence, both front yard and back. Well, now actually we only see each other over the fence in the front yard because the clumping black Buddha bamboo planted last year along the wall in the backyard has reached epic proportions.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

or so says joseph strauss

The Redwoods
by Joseph Strauss


Here, sown by the Creator's hand.
In serried ranks, the Redwoods stand:
No other clime is honored so,
No other lands their glory know.

The greatest of Earth's living forms,
Tall conquerors that laugh at storms;
Their challenge still unanswered rings,
Through fifty centuries of kings.

growing is forever : a poem by kallie markle

Monday, April 07, 2014

a word to you from gary snyder

For The Children
by Gary Snyder

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

Sunday, March 30, 2014

poop spelled backwards is still poop.

The stretch of sidewalk that wraps itself around my home has been littered with an ever-impressive array of poop. Some are nicely mounded and easy to retrieve. Still, some poops suggest that an owner dragged his or her leashed best friend down the street mid-action: a trail of turds, like a charming line of Hershey’s kisses delicately dropped in a row.

Dog poo can be a useful gopher deterrent, but basically I think we can all agree that poo stinks.

Perhaps there is a heavy magnetic field on this particular street, and dogs feel energetically compelled to release here; that’s cool. Just be a good neighbor and pick it up. Poo karma is like gum karma. If you spit out your gum in a place where people are likely to step on it, you will likely step in gum yourself. If you leave poo where people are likely to step on it, new poo will find you.
I started to leave chalk messages on the sidewalk to encourage responsible and neighborly dog custodianship. First, I was firm like a schoolmarm : “Good neighbors pick up after their dogs!” I should have anticipated that a big shit would greet this message the next day. The next approach was a little sweeter: “Thanks for being a good neighbor and picking up after your dog.” This didn’t really work either.

I started to surrender to the poop problem— what choice did I have? I could continue to get annoyed and antagonized by shitty neighbors or I could surrender. The poo became my guruor my poo-ru, if you will. And when my energy surrounding the problem shifted, the problem shifted too. Now I rarely have an errant poo to report.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

a lady may garden

"A flower garden is a great resource to a lady. We have, in our rather limited sphere, a good deal to suffer, and a good deal to make the best of, and, in each case, our minds seem healed and mollified by the sight and smell of our gay and fragrant parterres. A flower, too, is a sermon-- it preaches to our hearts and minds-- it speaks to us loudly and powerfully of the tender love of our and its Creator...Thus in every way our garden is a kind of benefactor-- it gives us moral health and physical health, pleasure and profit, recollection, and sometimes blessed forgetfulness...".
"My Flowers" by Rosa (ca. 1848) from The Armchair Book of Gardens: A Miscellany
i've been known to keep a garden and i do so love the smell of loam in the morning. i busied myself for most of 2013 with a garden, and though i still tend to see what hasn't grown in yet, and what still needs to be done (even though one is never 'done' with a garden) i am quite pleased with the results thus far.

before & after pics, and some skatalogical tid-bittery, after the jump.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

5 lessons from leroy's dance audition

in this classic movie moment from fame (1980), leroy agrees to help his friend because she needs a dance partner to audition for the school of performing arts. her performance is not impressive, but leroy doesn't fail to get the attention of the selection committee because he is a dance machine, he just can't help it. this is the best clip available on the youtubes presently, and it is dubbed in french-- but there is no language barrier, truly, when we speak of the dance.

what 5 lessons can we take away from leroy's dance audition?

1. help your friends out.
2. always do your best.
3. sometimes your best isn't good enough.
4. you never know when opportunity will present itself.
5. don't be afraid to try new things.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Going to Canada

Her mother called to alert us: Alice was missing.  

I was saddened but not surprised because Alice had a history of missingness. The client/patient/friend has a right to self-determine. If an adult woman wants to stop taking her meds and buy designer luxury items on clearance, there isn’t much any of us can do about it. By the time Alice bought a pair of Donna Karan spike heeled leather boots in eggplant purple, her missingness was already among us. 

Donna Karan spike heeled leather boots in eggplant purple are crazy-fun, not crazy-crazy. But it was a rather unusual fashion choice for Alice. She has a pattern of shopping to excess as her mania ascends. Also, the night she showed up in the boots, she asked me to ride along with her to San Francisco-- a two hour road-trip at midnight.*

Thursday, May 23, 2013

how you do one thing is how you do all things

a woman said to me once, "how you do one thing is how you do all things." her words floated into my awareness again recently, as i watched the preparations of what would later become a fire for a council ceremony held at the ojai foundation

the sun was high over the kiva, with temperatures nosing 100 degrees all day. i sat against the earthen walls in a slim slice of shade, seeking relief from the heat. council is a practice in listening, and listening actively is exhausting.

this fire was prepared in the tradition of 'the beauty way': creating beauty by being lovingly present and leaving things better than how you found them; it's a bit like tikkun olam but with more feathers and less guilt.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

coco says

gold for lady pele

when i was 5, my father gave me a gold charm, a small circle with my initials in the center. since i was only 5, the charm was put away for safe keeping.

after my father passed away a few years ago, i finally put the adored charm on a chain. i wear it, and i think that my father is with me, conducted in gold. but now i am starting to fret over the gold charm. i wonder, when i put the necklace on in the morning- will i lose my dad's charm today? will it fall off my neck in the grocery store? or the garden? will it be many hours later, after it has been lost in some mysterious location, that i reach up to touch my neck and discover the charm is gone?